Play talk read repeat

Bedtime stories

As parents, we all want to raise our kids to be the best they can be, but what’s the best way to go about doing that? Everyone has their own ideas on how to go about it – the plethora of books on the subject is evidence of that – but there are a few fundamentals that we can all agree on, and one of those is taking the time to interact with them, building social skills that will literally last a lifetime.

It’s no secret that I love reading to the girls, something I recently wrote about over at Mutterings of a Fool. But not everyone is as comfortable with their children, which is where the Scottish Government’s new campaign, PlayTalkRead, comes in.

They’re looking to encourage all parents to interact with their kids, with a big part of that being the PlayTalkRead website which is chockablock with ideas of how to get involved with kids, with more being added all the time.

PlayTalkRead are also running an ad campaign, which debuted during one of last week’s World Cup games, and asks us to #saythanks to the people who made us what we are today.

I’d like to #saythanks to my own mum and dad, for the time they spent with me, the solid foundation that gave me, and the lifelong love of learning that came with it. I hope one day my own girls will be able to say the same thing.

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Don’t call me frozen

As I hurtle towards my 40th birthday (just over 15 months to go!) I keep seeing and hearing little things that make me feel my age.

Take this year’s World Cup, for example. I’ve lost count of the number of things that last happened 32 years ago, such as Algeria’s last World Cup finals win. 32 years ago, frighteningly, was 1982, the first World Cup I remember watching.

And then there’s Father’s Day, where the “Dad” compilation albums have moved on a bit – the 70s and 80s classic rock versions are still out there, but they’ve now been joined by ones focusing on Britpop and other 90s stuff. I’ve even caught myself singing along to the odd advert, and thinking “that sounds good”, before realising how past it that makes me.

So when I heard Pearl Jam, my favourite band in the world, had tagged Frozen’s Let It Go onto the end of one of their own songs at the weekend, I thought it would be my chance to score some cool points.

Did I succeed? Well, I’m not so sure. To begin with, Megan fell out with me because I’d commandeered the iPad to show them the YouTube clip. Apparently Play-Doh tutorials are far more important!

Heather took more of an interest, and her face was an absolute picture when she realised what the song was. But even she wasn’t that interested. No cool points for me then.

I’m not sure about the rest of the guys, but I know that Eddie Vedder, like me, has two young daughters, and I suspect they may have had something to do with this particular song choice. And even though he doesn’t quite hit all the notes like Idina Menzel (who can, though?) I reckon it’s a decent attempt, and maybe he’s got the cool points that I didn’t.

I guess I can live with that. Especially if they’d pull the finger out and come back to Scotland, neglected for over 14 years, now. An old man can dream, can’t he?

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Last minute Father’s Day gifts

With the girls still being a bit young to buy their own gifts when it comes to birthdays, Christmas etc, it’s still up to Gem and I to do the honours. When it comes to Mother’s Day, I seem to have attracted a reputation for being a bit rubbish at it, which is entirely unjustified. I’m pretty sure this comes from Gem’s first couple of Mother’s Days, which were spent travelling back from Dubai and Lincolnshire respectively.

Not exactly the luxury pampering experience you might want, but it’s not my fault our travel plans coincided with such an important day, or that my wonderful idea of picking up gifts in Dubai duty free backfired a little because we didn’t have as much time to kill in the airport as I’d thought. Still, though, I’ve not forgotten one yet, so that’s good, right?

There have, however, been one or two last minute purchases over the years – the sort of “oh, that date is this Sunday? Really???” last minute purchase we’ve all done on occasion.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, Father’s Day is this Sunday coming, and I’m sure Gem has things well in hand. The girls have certainly let slip enough information to let me know that there are plans afoot, although I have no idea what. I thought I’d jot a few ideas down here anyway, though, just in case they’re required. You never know…

Beer/Whisky

WhiskyI was into craft beer before it was fashionable, but it’s good of everyone else to catch up because it means more choice for me. My only complaint is that all the good shops in Glasgow have been on the other side of the city, but that’s now changed with the opening of Drygate in the East End. I’ve yet to visit, but the range of beers behind the bar and in the shop looks impressive, as does the food. In fact, I wonder if we have any lunch plans on Sunday…

Whisky is something my father-in-law got me into, and I’m very glad he did. Like him, I tend to go for the Islay whiskies like Laphroaig and Lagavulin, but more recently I’ve developed a fondness for the Highland region too, with Macallan Gold and Ardmore being two of my most recent discoveries. Whisky stocks are quite low at the moment, but to be honest a nice bottle never goes amiss!

Cycling gear

Trek hybrid bike

If I’ve learned one thing in the last year, it’s that cycling requires lots of stuff. Most of mine has been picked up on the cheap, and with summer now on its way, I’m realising I could do with some extra tops/shorts to throw into the rotation – the current crop are starting to smell a bit, no matter how many times they’ve been washed. Sports Direct have a decent range of cycling tops and shorts, and I’ve been happy with previous purchases from their Muddy Fox range, so would have no qualms acquiring more.

Failing that, some running socks wouldn’t go amiss either!

Music

Gemma’s one failing when it comes to Father’s Day came in 2010, when part of my present was an IOU for Slash’s first album, which four years later I’m still waiting on. These days I’m more likely to stream something on Spotify, or download it from iTunes though, so some kind of voucher is probably the way to go

So there you have it – some last minute gift ideas that would make me (and I’m sure many other dads) happy. Although to be honest, I’ll be delighted just getting a lie-in followed by a day with my three favourite girls. :)

Did you know you can also follow/like the only boy in the house on Twitter (@mabuzzer), Instagram (@theonlyboyinthehouse) and Facebook (facebook.com/theonlyboyinthehouse)? Go on, make me feel popular!